You most likely have house guests that you’ve never even met face to face. They weren’t invited and, unless you take action, they won’t be leaving. They’re called VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, and they are hazardous chemicals typically found in cleaners, different brands of furniture, paints, mattresses, and other household appliances.
The most common VOC is formaldehyde, which is harmful to both your health and the health of the environment. Whether you’re traveling coast to coast in search of Los Angeles condos or DC condos, the eco-friendly homeowner should take up residence in and furnish their living space with VOC-free furniture and appliances. Here are the top 3 ways to keep your home cleansed of these toxins:
Get formaldehyde-free furniture
Formaldehyde is a human carcinogen that is widely found in household furniture and can cause headaches, respiratory irritation and skin rashes. It’s also bad for the environment during manufacturing and upon disposal. When you buy new furniture make sure it is made of untreated wood with natural materials such as hardwood, rattan, and iron. Consider purchasing furniture that was created with reclaimed lumber, as this is more environmentally sustainable and often times looks better as well.
Get chemical-free bedding
Many commercial mattresses contain a plethora of synthetic foams, fibers, plastics and adhesives that are unhealthy in a variety of ways. Look for mattresses that contain natural fibers, or you may want to purchase a barrier cloth that can shield you from the chemicals on your current mattress. Additionally, most bed sheets are made with cotton, which is often harvested in fields that are inundated in tremendous amounts of pesticides. For the sake of your health and the Earth, look for organic cotton sheets.
Get synthetic-free carpets
Not only are most carpets full of VOCs, they also soak up household pollutants that came embedded in the carpet fabric itself, as well as ones that are continually tracked in from outside. A couple of easy steps can reduce the toxicity of your carpet. One) Don’t walk on it with your shoes. Why would you want street chemicals on your floor? Two) Look for sustainable flooring like hardwoods, bamboo, tile, or natural carpet options like sisal and wool.
There are many health risks associated with VOCs, but by taking prudent measures you can greatly reduce your exposure to them. In the process, you will be supporting sustainable manufacturing industries, helping to prevent deforestation, and even reducing smog pollutants. Federal regulations are already working to eliminate VOCs and will eventually stamp them out for good. In the meantime, take it upon yourself to make your home safe and environmentally friendly.